What Makes a Suit Look Good?

7 results of our research project

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

apw x gentux

Suit Styles Inspiration

Andria Lo Weddings

The other week, I did a little experiment. I went through hundreds of APW real weddings, asking the question: What makes a suit look good? What types of accessories pair best with which suits? What suits go best with which colors? When do you wear brown shoes vs. black? Etc. etc. etc. I expected to come away from this deep dive with a concrete understanding of suiting “rules.” But when I was done, I discovered it came down to two (admittedly very important) things:

  • Does the suit fit well?
  • Does the person look comfortable in it?

Because it turns out pretty much everyone looks F-I-N-E in a well-fitted suit. (And for more on how to get a suit that really fits, check out how to measure for a suit, and the four basic things you need to know about suits.) So instead of burdening you with a bunch of nitpicky little rules, today we’ve partnered with Generation Tux to give you ideas on how to style that suit that fits properly, in a way that makes you feel super comfortable in it. Because if you add one plus two, you get hotness.

If you aren’t familiar with them already, Generation Tux is an online destination that delivers suit and tux rentals right to your door, starting at under $100 (or $150 for a complete outfit including shirt, shoes, and tie). Their styles are modern, and tailored to your measurements. Plus, they’ll even coordinate your wedding party so you don’t have to. And with on-call tailors available from their sister company zTailors (just in case you need it), they are committed to making sure your suit or tux rentals fits well. They also just added a ton of new accessories to their online suit and tux rental options, making it easier to accessorize your suit to the nines.

So if you’re looking for ideas on how to put together a suit and still maintain your personal style, we’ve got seven right here:

Bright Waxprint

man wearing suit

Andria Lo Weddings

Tip: If you want to incorporate color but are afraid of going overboard, keep scale in mind. A colorful tie and pocket square lend a pop of color that won’t overwhelm your whole look in the way a colorful shirt or suit jacket might. Also opting for lighter color or neutral suit will create less contrast, so your color won’t appear as bright.

Outfit One

1. Black Dress Shoes 2. Hot Pink and Turquoise Blue Circle African Waxprint Bowtie 3. Gray Sharkskin Notch Lapel Suit 4. Keyboard Cufflinks 5. Black Belt 6. White Spread Collar Shirt

bride and groom standing together at sunset

See this community-fueled Oakland wedding in action right here. Image by Andria Lo Weddings.

Edgy Black Tie

groom standing against ocean

Justine Bursoni Photography

Tip: Black tie doesn’t have to mean buttoned up. With the right accessories, you can make black tie downright edgy. Opt for modern silhouettes, like a slim tux and a skinny tie; pair with sneakers instead of dress shoes, and voila! Rock star status.

rock n roll

1. Black Peak Lapel Tux 2. White Spread Collar Shirt 3. Black Plaid Pocket Square 4. Skull and Crossbones Cufflinks 5. Black Satin Skinny Tie 6. Gucci Dublin Slip-on Sneaker

bride and groom in front of white and yellow wall

See this rock ‘n’ roll wedding (with three hundred guests!) in action right here. Image by Justine Bursoni Photography.

oxblood collegiate

man standing in field

Kathryn Bacalis Photography

Tip: If Drake has taught us anything, it’s that stealing your grandfather’s wardrobe is totally legit. Opt for accessories in darker colors: think navy, oxblood, or hunter green, in more structured fabrics like wool or tweed, and linear patterns like checks or plaid. For extra formality, opt for a three-piece suit. Don’t want to go all the way Draper? Slightly unkempt hair will keep your outfit from feeling too authentically old school.


1. Gray Sharkskin Notch Lapel Suit 2. White Spread Collar Shirt 3. Brown Leather Dress Shoes 4. Red Gingham Pre-Tied Bowtie 5. Gray Sharkskin Tailored Suit Vest 6. Black and Silver Cufflinks

bride and groom standing in field together

See this self-solemnized Colorado elopement in action right here. Image by Kathryn Bacalis Photography.

Formal Navy

groom wearing navy suit

Jamie Fischer Photography

Tip: Everyone looks good in a blue suit, but the blue tuxedo can be intimidating to style (aren’t black and blue not supposed to go together?). A safe alternative is the navy tuxedo. It’s not quite capital-B Blue, but it’s still a departure from the standard black tux norm. A light blue shirt will complement the navy, and a black skinny tie keeps your outfit modern.

navy blue tux

1. Midnight Blue Peak Lapel Tux 2. Black Satin Skinny Tie 3. Glacier Blue Spread Collar Shirt 4. Cupid’s Arrow Tie Bar 5. Black Gloss Tuxedo Shoes

couple walking back down the wedding aisle

See this Rocky Mountain love fest in action right here. Image by Jamie Fischer Photography.

Festive FuchSia

couple kissing in front of water

Corey Torpie Photography

Tip: If you want to opt for a lot of color, but aren’t sure how to make it not clash, keep things monochromatic. You can mix a bright pink shirt with a pink patterned tie and light pink pocket square, and they won’t fight each other. And if you really want to make sure it all works, opt for one patterned accessory that has all three shades in it. It doesn’t have to be big, but it’ll help tie your look together.pink

1. Black Notch Lapel Suit 2. Black Dress Shoes 3. Pink Zig Zag Pocket Square 4. Danbury Plaid Skinny Tie 5. Men’s Extra-Slim Solid Dress Shirt

couple walking toward river

See this ASL-friendly camp wedding in action right here. Image by Corey Torpie Photography.

relaxed FLORAL

groom wearing flowers

Haley Lovett Photography

Tip: Fabric can make a big difference in the formality of your outfit. Cotton accessories will read more casual, whereas silk or satin will read more formal. Similarly, a black or charcoal suit (and certainly a tuxedo) can read more formal or “evening,” whereas blue, light gray, or tan can feel more daytime.summer blues

1. Navy Blue Notch Lapel Suit 2. Vintage Handkerchief 3. White Spread Collar Shirt 4. Brown Leather Dress Shoes 5. Pomp and Circumstance Floral Print Tie

couple walking down wedding aisle together

See this New Orleans friendship festival (with a second line parade!) in action right here. Image by Haley Lovett Photography.

totally tropical

tropical flowers on groom

Hector from We Heart Pictures

Tip: Pattern mixing is generally advanced-level outfit stuff, but a few tips can help you pull it off. First, mind your pattern balance. If you’re mixing patterns, you’ll be more successful mixing a large-scale pattern (like a palm printed shirt) with a small-scale pattern (like a geometric tie). And the color wheel can be your friend. (More on that here.) Colors next to each other on the color wheel will be harmonious with each other, and colors across from each other will pop against each other (in a good way). This tool is super fun for seeing how colors look next to each other.

Tropical 2

1. Black Notch Lapel Suit 2. Black Dress Shoes 3. Begonia Zig Zag Pre-Tied Bow Tie 4. Billabong Men’s Poolsider Tropical-Print Short-Sleeve Shirt

bride and groom sitting together

See this colorful feminist party in action right here. Image by Hector from We Heart Pictures.


This post was sponsored by Generation Tux. Generation Tux offers modern, stylish suit and tux rentals starting at just $95 for a suit or tuxedo rental, or $150 for the whole outfit including shirt, shoes, and accessories. Plus, Generation Tux will coordinate your wedding party so you don’t have to. They even offer on-call tailoring in case your measurements change before the wedding. Basically, they’ve got this covered. Click here to register your event and get started today!

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Kayjayoh

    And if you are getting married on a warm summer day (happy anniversary, me!) you could also go for a handsome vest and pants, skipping a full jacket entirely. Our wedding day started out cool, cloudy, and rainy, but when our ceremony started, we were standing outside in full sunlight, and my husband was dripping in sweat. I think he’s have died entirely in a full jacket.

    • ART

      Happy anniversary! Ours is a week from today. We skipped jackets, too, for the same reason. I thought my husband looked amazing in his vest and we got his tie from the Tie Bar (online) which was such a fantastic resource! We got all the groomsman/usher ties there, too.

      • Kayjayoh


        • ART

          It was so warm that at one point in the afternoon, our biodegradable plastic cups melted. Pro tip: Do not set in direct sunlight :)

        • ART

          Oh! The photo hadn’t loaded when I commented. Love the paisley!

          • Kayjayoh

            The hilarious truth is that I HATED this vest in the months leading up to the wedding. In addition, I didn’t want anyone being matchy, and he wanted all his dudes in matching vests of a similar (though different) paisley. So not only was he insisting on matching outfites, they were matching outfits that I loathed. I was furious at him for insisting on this and furious at myself for caring. And then? Everything was fine. I settled in to the fact that I wouldn’t give a damn about what anyone was wearing on that day, and that this was important to him. Feelings are funny.

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  • laurlala

    I really WANTED to love Generation Tux but they have a lack of non-navy suits. The man wants a dusty blue and it’s like pulling teeth trying to get one he likes. (We’re also planning from abroad to add an extra layer of Yikes to the equation!)